Society of Sound artist and classical pianist Benjamin Grosvenor will be making his debut playing with the Philharmonia at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 25th January. For all his dates this year, please check here.
Classical recordings clearly need to have a clarity and transparency but not all music sounds its best recorded like this. The Ramones first album was recorded in a 10 hour session for around £4000 and that’s part of what makes it sound great.
Much as many hate compression, sometimes music benefits from it. In the same way some people will always love the sound of vinyl over any other format, for others it may lack a crispness.
In other words, what works for one recording won’t automatically work for another.
We decided to ask Society of Sound artists (and B&W Fellows) what recordings sounded to good to them and why.
Here’s Benjamin’s choice:
Bach Preludes and Fugues Book 1. Recording by Samuil Feinberg.
I was introduced to this recording by a teacher at the Royal Academy. I find it incredibly imaginative.
Beethoven Symphony No. 9. Conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.
This is a dramatic and thoroughly entertaining performance of this great work.
I like the combination of Freddie Mercury’s voice and that of the opera singer.
Art Tatum – Tiger Rag
Art Tatum was an amazing pianist and this is one of his most famous recordings/improvisations. The speed at which he plays the stride bass is unbelievable, firstly because he is improvising this and secondly because he was almost completely blind.
Elgar Cello Concerto – Jacqueline Du Prė
This is a recording that is important to me as it inspired me the take up the cello at the age of 8. Unfortunately, I had to give up the cello at 11 when I became involved in the BBC young musician competition. This was the last piece I learnt.
I recorded two of these for my B&W project. They are very imaginative transcriptions full of virtuosity and wit and are great fun to play.
Ravel piano concerto in G major. Recording by Arturo Michelangeli
This piece is very special to me as it was this that I performed for the concerto final of the BBC young musician competition. This is my favourite recording of it. I especially like his first movement cadenza.
Moszkowski piano concerto
This is a relatively obscure piece that I would very much like to play and which I think that audiences would find appealing. It is a light-hearted and charming work and this is probably the best recording available of it.
Liszt: The Fountains at the Villa d’Este – Claudio Arrau
This is considered one of the greatest recordings of the 20th century. Arrau evokes a picture of the fountains of Tivoli splendidly and creates such a hypnotic atmosphere while doing so.
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue. Played by Gershwin.
I have had an affinity with Jazz since I played a few pieces by Billy Mayerl at the age of 9 and so naturally I love this piece. It is very interesting to hear a work played by its composer and this is why I have chosen this recording.
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez. Recording by John Williams.
I include this because it is my mother’s favorite piece.